Journalistic philosophy and reporting praised

Editor’s note: The following was addressed to Editor and Publisher Frank Schier.

Your paper and more importantly, your journalistic philosophy, deserve a people’s award. Willingness to give voice to unpopular opinions, which have a habit of being early warnings of misguided conduct and skullduggery by people we would like to believe we can trust, is more than admirable, it is critical to the preservation of an open society.

The uncanny ability of your editorials to be among the earliest on unfolding national and local issues should be a source of pride. No doubt your staff has to work diligently, efficiently and with a particular dedication to accomplish that. Those are the attributes that make the American worker the best in the world. Regular coverage of issues of community interest such as renewable energy, sports and the actions of local government is concise and entertaining.

Your editorials have accurately exposed the corporate media as participants in and supporters of power elitism. Your observations of the corporate media’s eagerness to be a part of the spin and smoke machine, while not popular, opens windows allowing light and fresh air into the “good ol’ boys” backrooms that are fouled by the stench of their dirty dealings. While other local media were conveniently looking the other way, The Rock River Times revealed the financial excesses of Roland Chapdelaine at Rock Valley College. “The people” should remember where they got the straight story while they are paying off Rock Valley’s $60 million-plus debt. The Rock River Times was absolutely right in its assessment that the new jail project was excessive. The unique demographics of Winnebago County indicated a 400-bed addition would have served the community for the foreseeable future. Instead, the taxpayers will get a Taj Mahal that is nearly three times larger than needed, and I predict the cost to the taxpayers will be a half billion dollars by the time the last bond is paid off.

With subtlety rather than shrillness, The Rock River Times has exposed the religious and political extremist movements that are coalescing into a uniquely American form of economic-based neo-fascism. I am sure The Rock River Times will not abandon subversive movement for “the news item of the day” and will continue to candidly discuss the predictable path this form of oppression will take.

More than most, The Rock River Times has lamented the precursor of lost liberty through the successful implementation of pervasive government secrecy by the George W. Bush administration. Your thoughtful readers know this assault on the public’s “right to know” is also an assault on individual liberty that will not be easily undone. The more quickly “the people” act to reverse this wholly un-American activity, the better. I sincerely hope The Rock River Times will remain a strong voice in the din of small voices that will have to come together to thwart the mounting attacks on free speech and individual liberties by the pseudo-patriots who hate the Constitution.

The most quickly advancing threats to the well-being of ordinary citizens are government extremism. There is a gathering storm; it is the deeply imagined and pervasive corruption within the American legal system. On the criminal justice side (justice being a commonly used misnomer in this case), the imprisonment and execution of untold numbers of innocent Americans is a story yet to be fully told. On the civil side, judges have become the operators of a crooked carnival game that allows lawyer shills to enrich themselves and the government, while those actually harmed get the equivalent of a paper fan on a stick.

I know this is too long to print, and I don’t expect you to. I do thank you for printing my opinion letters and urge you to keep doing the good work that you are doing the way that you are doing it. The Rock River Times is an honorable voice in the community, upholding the highest traditions of free speech.

Larry A. Webb is a local resident and subscriber.

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